Space Station Science Highlights: Week of April 16, 2018

ISS – Expedition 55 Mission patch.

April 23, 2018

The crew members aboard the International Space Station conducted science at a slightly higher altitude last week as the space station was boosted into a higher orbit in preparation for this summer’s launching and landing activities.

International Space Station (ISS). Image Credits: NASA/STS-119

Take a look at some of the science that happened last week aboard your orbiting laboratory:

Crew relocates habitats for maintenance

Spaceflight brings an extreme environment with unique stressors. Exposure to cosmic radiation increases intracellular oxidative stresses, which can lead to DNA damage and cell death. Microgravity provokes cellular mechanical stresses and perturbs cellular signaling, leading to reduction of muscle and bone density. To overcome these space stresses, one of the promising strategies is to activate Nuclear Factor-like 2 (Nrf2), a master regulator of antioxidant pathway. Mouse Stress Defense, a JAXA investigation, tests genetically modified loss-of-Nrf2-function and gain-of-Nrf2-function in mice in the space environment and examines how Nrf2 contributes to effective prevention against the space-originated stresses.

Image above: NASA astronaut Scott Tingle works with a thawing pouch as a part of the Metabolic Tracking investigation. Image Credit: NASA.

Last week, the crew temporarily relocated the Mouse Habitat Cage Units from the Cell Biology Experiment Facility to Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) to perform maintenance on the units.

First harvest for APEX investigation complete

A more thorough understanding of how plants grow in space provides better life support system design and resource planning for long-term space missions. Using Brachypodium distachyon to Investigate Monocot Plant Adaptation to Spaceflight (APEX-06) is an investigation which expands our understanding of plant growth in space and provides fundamental information about plant biology on Earth.

Animation above: A view of the MISSE Sample Carrier, containing investigations from MISSE-9, being installed on to the MISSE-FF platform. Animation Credit: NASA.

Last week, the crew harvested and photographed the plants for the investigation.

New ACE investigation initiated

The Advanced Imaging, Folding, and Assembly of Colloidal Molecules (ACE-T-9) experiment involves the imaging, folding, and assembly of complex colloidal molecules within a fluid medium. This set of experiments prepares for future colloidal studies and also provides insight into the relationship between particle shape, colloidal interaction, and structure. These so-called “colloidal molecules” are vital to the design of new and more stable product mixtures.

Animation above: NASA astronaut Scott Tingle works within the Veggie facility as a part of the APEX-06 investigation. Animation Credit: NASA.

Last week, the crews finished up the previous ACE investigation (ACE-T-6) and initiated the ACE-T-9 investigation.

Space to Ground: Operating an Outpost: 04/20/2018

Other work was done on these investigations: Crew Earth Observations, Biochemical Profile, ACE-T-6, Story Time from Space, CASIS PCG-9, MSG, HDEV, CIR, SG100 Cloud Computer, MISSE-FF, TSIS, Food Acceptability, EIISS, EarthKAM, SCAN Testbed, Multi-Use Variable-g platform (MVP), Metabolic Tracking, Multi-Omics and Radi-N2.

Related links:

APEX-06: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7524

ACE-T-9: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1877

Crew Earth Observations: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=84

Biochemical Profile: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=980

ACE-T-6: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1707

Story Time from Space: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1152

CASIS PCG-9: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7627

MSG: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=341

HDEV: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=892

CIR: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=317

SG100 Cloud Computer: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=2055

MISSE-FF: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=7515

TSIS: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1907

Food Acceptability: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7562

EIISS: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7565

EarthKAM: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=87

SCAN Testbed: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=156

Multi-Use Variable-g platform (MVP): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=1777

Metabolic Tracking: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7517

Multi-Omics: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1689

Radi-N2: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=874

Spot the Station: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/NASA Johnson/Yuri Guinart-Ramirez, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 55 & 56.

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